Last week, Flanders decided to go entirely for EVs as of 2029. But one of the binding conditions for the total switch was the presence of good charging infrastructure. A lot of new technical workforce will be needed to install everything. Are they available?
Jochen De Smet, president of EV Belgium, the sector federation for e-mobility, emits his concern and thinks that at least 8 000 to 10 000 additional installers are necessary. In its climate plan, Flanders has promised 100 000 public charging points before 2030, whereas there are a mere 5 000 now.
Action is needed
“We need a plan from the Flemish government urgently to provide these people,” De Smet tells us on the phone. “Already, there is a shortage of technically skilled people. For example, for industrial electrotechnical engineers, there are 1 750 vacancies; for residential installers, there are some 1 300. On a total of 39 000, this means already 8%, and the need is growing every day.”
“And, of course, one has to take into account that other sectors like the heating of houses, installation of solar panels, or car dealers, who have to restructure themselves, are also looking for adequately skilled personnel,” De Smet adds.
“The whole sector will grow expansively, also because of the tax incentives for companies and individual people. Already now, there are waiting lists for installations, both in companies and at home. Those will only increase.”
De Smet expects that the rush on infrastructure will increase in the coming years and that the lack of skilled hands to realize this will become a major problem. “By the end of next year, when the incentive percentages will change, there will be such a rush on charging infrastructure that a lot of people will come too late to benefit from those attractive support schemes. The transition is coming, but it won’t be that easy to lead this in the right direction.”